ZANU PF and MDC Alliance councillors in Masvingo recently clashed over the renaming of city streets in honour of living and departed Zanu PF luminaries, with the former walking out of a special council meeting in protest over the call to honour the late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
BY TATENDA CHITAGU
In a letter dated January 14, Local Government minister July Moyo ordered the renaming of five streets in honour of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, late heroes Edison Zvobgo, Shuvai Mahofa, Simon Muzenda and Sheba Tavarwisa, giving a January 21 deadline.
But at a special council meeting held on Monday evening, MDC Alliance councillors, sources said, refused to comply with Moyo’s directive saying they had previously resolved that one of the streets be named after Tsvangirai.
This, sources added, did not go down well with their Zanu PF counterparts who walked out of the meeting as they did not want Tsvangirai to be honoured.
One of the Zanu PF councillors who walked out of the meeting, Sengerai Manyanga (ward 10), confirmed the incident.
“MDC councillors said they did not want Hofmeyer Street to be renamed Simon Muzenda Street, but it was their own thing, not a Cabinet decision. I argued that Tsvangirai is from Buhera so a street at Murambinda Growth Point in Buhera should be renamed in his honour, not here in Masvingo where Muzenda hailed from. We were two Zanu PF councillors against six MDC councillors, so we distanced ourselves from that meeting and walked out after the mayor decided to divide the house,” Manyanga said.
Called for comment, Masvingo mayor Collin Maboke said he was surprised by his Zanu PF counterparts’ reaction as they had previously agreed to honour Tsvangirai.
“We did not have problems with the minister’s directive, but on one of the streets, Hofmeyer, we had already made a resolution and wrote to the ministry that the same road be named after Tsvangirai. The minister has not yet responded. The problem came when we debated the issue and our Zanu PF counterparts walked out. But we went ahead and said the other Zanu PF hero (Simon Muzenda) can as well have another street named in his honour,” he said.
Maboke said he did not know if Moyo had seen their request to rename Hofmeyer Street in honour of Tsvangirai.
“We are not sure if he had seen our correspondence or not. Maybe there was some bureaucratic bungling and the letter is in his office, but he has not yet read it, we will see how he will respond,” Maboke said.